SEARHC honors National Health Center Week: National Health Center Week is Aug. 5-11 this year, with the theme is Celebrating America’s Health Centers: Powering Healthier Communities.” SEARHC operates 12 federally recognized community health centers located in the Southeast Alaska communities of Angoon, Haines, Hoonah, Hydaburg, Kake, Kasaan, Klawock, Klukwan, Pelican, Tenakee Springs, Thorne Bay and Juneau (Front Street Clinic, which provides health care for the homeless). In addition to receiving Indian Health Service funds, these clinics also receive funding from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) because they operate in medically underserved areas. This additional funding has allowed us to increase services to our Native patients and also to provide health care to non-Native residents of these communities who might have no other access to care (non-Natives pay for services based on a sliding fee schedule based on family income). For more information about National Health Center Week, please contact Patricia Atkinson at 966-8662 or Sydney Evenson at 966-8939, or go to http://www.healthcenterweek.org/.
SEARHC Elders Council member Jessie Johnnie passes on: Longtime SEARHC Elders Council member Jessie Johnnie passed away on Wednesday, Aug. 1, at her home in Sitka. Jessie was 79 years old. She was born Dec. 14, 1932, in Hoonah to James Clark Johnnie and Lily (Houston) Johnnie. Jessie had three Tlingít names — Shgati, Kaach Kink and Sikawulgeen. Jessie moved to Sitka in 1950 when she was traditionally married to John Andrew Young Jr. at age 16, then moved to Spokane, Wash., in 1966 after her husband died. She attended Mt. Edgecumbe High School, Gonzaga University and Spokane Community College. Jessie held a variety of jobs over the years, working at several nursing homes and schools, working in the Excursion Inlet cannery, being a cook aboard one of her husband’s fishing boats, and working as a traditional substance abuse treatment counselor and Tlingít language instructor. She also served on many committees, including the SEARHC Elders Council, the Sitka Tribe of Alaska’s Kayaaní Commission (she was commissioner emeritus), Alaska Native Brotherhood and Skagway Traditional Council. She took great joy in sharing her extensive knowledge of medicinal plants and herbs. With the SEARHC Elders Council, Jessie helped with just about all of the SEARHC Memorials since they started in the early 1990s. She also served on the committees that named the Gunaanastí Bill Brady Healing Center’s Yeesdooseigu Xáay (New Breath Sweat Lodge) and initial ceremony, and was a strong resource for the most recent SEARHC Memorial and the Yee Éek Kwa Néix kootéeyaa (You Are Going To Get Well totem pole). She also helped with the devil’s club definition that is located in all the SEARHC buildings. SEARHC President Emeritus Ethel Lund said Jessie had been on the SEARHC Elders Council for eight years and Ethel relied heavily on Jessie’s knowledge of Tlingít traditions and culture. Ethel said Jessie was very well trained and schooled in the traditions, culture and customs of Tlingít people, and she always provided positive input.
SEARHC Juneau Behavioral Health to host a Recovery Walk on Sept. 15: National Recovery Month is in September, and the SEARHC Juneau Behavioral Health office is hosting its second annual Recovery Walk on Saturday, Sept. 15. People should meet at 1 p.m. at Marine Park for a walk to Sandy Beach in Douglas, where there will be food, drumming and singing from 1-6 p.m. Some people will meet at noon at Sandy Beach to get the grills going and start preparing food, but most will meet at Marine Park for the walk at 1 p.m. This is a potluck-style picnic, so people are encouraged to bring a favorite dish and/or alcohol-free beverages. Since September is National Recovery Month, we want to acknowledge chemical dependency and mental illnesses. We will be honoring people who struggle with both of these issues, and we want to acknowledge that people can and do recover. To learn more, contact Community Family Service Worker III Toni Weber at 463-6670. This is just one of many community events that will take place in September for National Recovery Month. Schedules still are being developed, but in Juneau there will be a Recovery Film Festival Sept. 5, 12 and 19 at GoldTown Nickelodeon theater; FASD Awareness Day events at various restaurants on Sept. 9; a Swing Into Recovery dance on Sept. 21 at Rockwell; and a Recovery Poetry Jam at a place TBA on Sept. 28. In Sitka, there will be a canoe journey and talking circle on either Sept. 1 or 9, and a recovery potlatch on Sept. 29. We will have more details as schedules are confirmed, so watch the News Releases section our website, http://www.searhc.org/, for more information.
Special clinic dates with nurse practitioner Michele Susie scheduled for Tenakee Springs: Michele Susie, SEARHC’s Klukwan-based family nurse practitioner, will travel to Tenakee Springs to see patients on Wednesday and Thursday, Sept. 5-6, at the Genevieve Soboleff Clinic. Michele will take appointments for physical exams, well-child exams, well-woman exams, and chronic health issues, with fasting lab blood-draws scheduled for Thursday morning (no food or drinks besides water should be taken in the 12 hours prior to the lab). To schedule an appointment, contact Jessie Grant at 766-6324 at the SEARHC Haines Health Center.
Fall 2012 mobile mammogram van schedule announced: The SEARHC WISEWOMAN Women’s Health Program and Bartlett Regional Hospital have announced the Fall 2012 schedule for the mobile mammogram program. The mobile mammography van will visit Hoonah on Aug. 20-24, Haines on Aug. 27-Sept. 10, Skagway on Sept. 11-14, Klawock on Sept. 19-28 and Oct. 3-9, Craig on Oct. 1-2, and Metlakatla on Oct. 11-19 (no weekend or holiday appointments). Women are encouraged to contact their local clinics prior to the scheduled visit because they will need to receive a clinical breast exam before they can get their mammograms. The mobile mammography program is run through a partnership between Bartlett Regional Hospital and the SEARHC WISEWOMAN Women’s Health Program. It makes regular mammography screening services available to women who live in communities where they aren’t available year round. The SEARHC WISEWOMAN Women’s Health Program provides free clinical breast exams, mammograms, Pap tests and cardiovascular screenings for all women ages 40 and older who meet income and insurance guidelines. For more information, contact your local clinic, call the SEARHC WISEWOMAN Women’s Health Program in Sitka at 966-8782 (or 1-888-388-8782, toll-free in Alaska), or send e-mail to email@example.com. For more information about services available through the SEARHC WISEWOMAN Women’s Health Program, go to http://www.searhc.org/womenshealth/.
SEARHC patient advocates serve as customer liaisons: SEARHC has three patient advocate positions in Southeast Alaska — Bryan Whitson (Sitka), Cyndi Reeves (POW), and Debra Graceland (Juneau) — who serve as customer service liaisons between patients and SEARHC, and help patients navigate their way through SEARHC’s health system. In addition, the Alaska Native Medical Center provides Anchorage-based patient advocates who serve patients from around the state receiving care at the Alaska Native Medical Center. Patients living in Sitka, Angoon, Kake, Pelican, Tenakee Springs, Yakutat, Petersburg and Wrangell should contact Bryan Whitson at 966-8860. Patients in Klawock, Craig, Hydaburg, Kasaan, Thorne Bay and other POW communities should contact Cyndi Reeves at 755-4983 (965-0040, cell). Patients in Juneau, Haines, Skagway, Klukwan and Hoonah should contact Debra Graceland (463-6656). Patients traveling to Anchorage for care should contact the ANMC patient advocates at 729-3990.
SEARHC hosts 24/7 crisis help line, toll-free at 1-877-294-0074: A personal or family crisis doesn’t always happen during clinic hours, so the SEARHC Behavioral Health Division has contracted with a crisis call center to provide help for Southeast Alaska residents when they need it most. The SEARHC Help Line is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and it will be staffed with a team of master’s-degree-level mental health therapists who will listen and provide effective, compassionate care. This line provides confidential telephone counseling for people during a time of mental health crisis, and it is not just an answering service. The counselors will assess the situation and provide appropriate intervention using protocols developed with SEARHC Behavioral Health. Follow-up calls from SEARHC Behavioral Health or our partner agencies will be made the next business day. For more information, contact SEARHC Behavioral Health/Suicide Prevention Program Manager Wilbur Brown at 966-8753.
SEARHC provides 24/7 on-call travel coordinators for patients traveling for care: SEARHC has a 24/7 on-call travel coordinator to assist patients needing after-hours help while traveling for a medical appointment. The on-call staff person helps patients find new connections when a plane is diverted by weather, or assists with late-night housing. For assistance, call 1-800-916-8566 (toll-free in Alaska) or 1-907-966-8345 in Sitka, and then follow the prompts. To help us better help you, please call as soon as you know your travel schedule has been changed. For patients needing assistance from the Community Resources Program (contract health), such as emergency health care while traveling, call 1-866-966-8316 (toll-free).
Charles Clement SEARHC President/CEO